By: Clarisse Hansard
There’s a different air to the way that the members of Washington based band, SEACATS, approaches their music.
“Anybody who has seen anything about us at all online kind of understands that it’s all a joke,” explains Josh Davis, one creative half of the true beginnings of the band. Brothers Josh and Mike Davis started a web show when they were 18 and 13 respectively. Eventually they began to record songs and found themselves playing Sound Off!, a Seattle based battle of the bands showcase.
“Sound Off! is like a celebration of the local under 21 scene, a ton of people enter it and they get a ton of good bands to play,” says guitarist Mikey Ferrario. The band places tremendous value on the importance of a local music scene, as its what they’ve grown from, and they see just as much joy in performing as they do in supporting other local acts. “Watching bands grow,” Mikey says, “is half the fun of knowing a band… and when you get plugged in on the local level, it’s super powerful to watch.” Networking with the other artists that they’ve met along the way since their formation in 2009 is both what they enjoy and what they prefer: “There are a lot of things that you can do to be an industry standard band, but that’s not really what we want.”
Without a doubt, SEACATS have succeeded in being anything but standard, as they routinely incorporate elements into their band and performances that are meant to be comical and ridiculous. Video, younger brother Mike Davis explains, is a huge focus for the band. Not only does the band intend to release a music video for every song on their latest, self-titled release, but they frequently incorporate video into their live shows as well.
“At the CD release show,we put together a video of us, and it [went like] ‘the label head has changed, he told us to get buff and cover Carlos Santana,’” touring bassist Keenan Calhoun says. From there, he explains, the video cuts from a workout montage to the band driving to their show, to their car breaking down, to a running montage, etc. The kicker? At the end, they show up in muscle suits and cover “Smooth” by Carlos Santana.
Truly, however, videos like these don’t even touch on strange for SEACATS. Most of their live show, Josh says, consists of them doing comedy improv while still playing songs and trying to make each other laugh. “[We’re all trying to be] the biggest rockstars possible,” he says.
“A lot of times it’s like an intentional train wreck on our part and nobody picks up on it,” adds Mikey.
“[We played a show one time] and right before we played, literally every single person left the show [and so] we tried to be the biggest f*cking rockstars and we were like “what the f*ck is up Spokane!” frontman Mike says. “There was one point where I said ‘f*ck you’ a good 345 times.”
That night, half the set was completely improv.
“When we started the set, there were like 10 people there,” Josh adds, “and when we finished, there were 3… but the 3 people there were like ‘THAT WAS AWESOME!”
“We thought the owner was gonna hate us but after the show he came up to us and was like, ‘that was the most amazing thing. Come back. Please come back,” Mikey finishes.
And so performances like these are at the heart of what SEACATS are about, even if not everyone gets it.
“I’m trying to just keep doing things on the internet that let everyone know that it’s a joke. I want everyone to be in on it,” Josh says. “I feel bad when people that like our music are being victims of the joke.” But sometimes, that’s the funniest part.
The band released their self titled full length this past October. The record was produced by Steve Fisk, who in the past has worked with bands ranging from Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground to Soundgarden and Nirvana. The album, available on Bandcamp, is a solid collection of pop tunes that almost anyone would find uplifting.
Mike describes the band as being very pop oriented, but admits that they like to be experimental in their sound as well. “We’re going to try and do something that’s the polar opposite for our next release… something less heavily planned,” he says.
“[This album] took like a year. We did it in three separate sessions. We started in March 2012, then recorded another session in July, and the last five songs we did in January [of this year],” Josh adds. “We try to make [our music] very catchy and listenable.”
“It’s fun to do drone-y, weird, experimental stuff, but I don’t think I could do that for very long,” says Mike.
“We could end up going heavier,” Josh continues.
“We’ve been doing this really funny, but nobody ever laughs because nobody knows it’s a joke, thing at our shows… we play a Korn riff at the end of our set and we improv metal riffs over it and it’s my favorite part of the set and everyone loves it the most and we’re just doing it off the top of our heads and it’s tons of fun,” Mikey says. Everyone in the band agrees that it’s their favorite part of the set. “It would be fun to explore that.”
“Yeah, we’re gonna upgrade to a seven string guitar.” Mike jokes, “we’re gonna upgrade to a Floyd Rose too.”
“So we can do dive bombs. Lots of heavy metal dive bombs,” Keenan adds.
The band’s most recent tour collapsed out of bad lug, they say it was less of a leg of a tour and more of a single hair on a leg. Other than this though, they say touring has been amazing. This past March the band played at South by Southwest in Texas and will continue to play shows throughout the Washington and northwest area.
“Everybody agrees it’s so much better to tour,” Josh says. “We’ve definitely figured out that touring is very intense peaks and valleys and you just have a whole lot of fun and there are the stupidest jokes and we’re having the most fun ever and then the next day we get into a fight over something really stupid.”
That’s just how it works though, and despite this, the band loves what they’re doing.
“I’m just really down for the lifestyle. Even if I’m never really well known, I love the lifestyle of just being free and being creative and expressing yourself as much as possible as a point of life,” Mikey says. “I think it’s not something that we’ll ever stop doing… If we could have fifty kids in every major city,” he continues, “that would be my dream. It definitely has to be all ages. [21+ shows] make it seem like the focus is drinking and the band is secondary.”
“We love playing all ages, indie, DIY places,” Josh adds.
And so SEACATS’ growth continues. Despite tour mishaps and all the jokes that not everyone is picking up on just yet, the band agrees that right now they’re at their best point ever. For SEACATS, everything is going swimmingly.
You can buy the band’s self titled release, SEACATS, on Bandcamp and stream it below: